Familiarize Yourself with the NICU
When Erin, our mother from the introduction, was first ushered into her NICU experience, it was overwhelming. She didn't know she wouldn't hold her twins before they went to the NICU, and she needed medical care herself. Furthermore, the NICU is a hectic place.
That said, you can ease into the experience by familiarizing yourself with the setting. In fact, prior to labor, if you think the NICU is in your future, consider requesting a tour.
Although all NICUs vary, in general, they include a large space with babies resting in beds along the walls. Those beds include warmers; isolettes, which are incubators; omnibeds, which are combination warmers and isolettes; and bassinettes. You'll also see a lot of equipment hooked up to or around your baby, such as monitors, ventilators and electrodes. That can be upsetting, but remember that it's for your baby's care.
Elsewhere in the NICU, there are usually spaces for lactation and consultations, as well as a family lounge. Some NICUs may have more carved-out spaces for each baby for increased privacy and intimacy.